Archive for Friday, February 21, 2003

For the children

February 21, 2003

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To the editor:

Several recent letters have confused some important points regarding the bond issue language.

It does not mandate school closure. Only a school board vote can close schools. It does state that some funding for renovating certain schools is based upon the assumption that those schools will receive students from consolidations. The remaining schools will still be uniformly distributed through our older neighborhoods, and the projected enrollments for the "new" elementary schools are still less than 300, which means they are still some of the smaller schools in the district.

In 1996-97, I was part of Save Our Schools (SOS) because I felt the closure issue was shoved in our faces, with no community input. This time is different. The 14 months of discussions have included community input. I know. I was there, and, yes, anyone could have been involved. During this time, it became clear that we have too many buildings with capacities for 350 students and real enrollments of less than 200. I have had kids in one-section schools. Despite the efforts of great teachers and support staff, combination classrooms were not equitable for all students.

The two-section model adopted by the district means a long-term goal of 450 students per elementary school, but establishes a 17:1 ratio for grades K-3. This model is supported by education research, principals and teachers. These facility upgrades would provide real equity in programs and support services to ALL children in Lawrence schools. And after all, isn't that who we are doing this for?

Kevin Kennedy,

Lawrence

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